The RBS debt team’s 23 airport deals since last January span four currencies in the American and European markets. Beyond the UK, they cover financings for airports in France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Australia.
Taken together, the deals reflect the Bank’s pivotal role in a sector that has shown resilience during and since the financial crisis of 2008 and that continues to attract healthy levels of liquidity.
Andrew Paulson, Managing Director, Secured Debt Markets, has led many of the deals, including the GBP1.5 billion acquisition of London Stansted by Manchester Airport Group (MAG) in February and the Brussels bond.
He said: “What’s been crucial is that we’ve developed an informal network of individuals in the sector across RBS who link up really well. The credentials we have built up are compelling to any potential client looking to be active in the sector.”
Bart Vervoort, Director, Corporate Coverage, led the most recent deal, a combined EUR1.65 million bank and EUR500 million bond debt refinancing for Brussels Airport completed last month.
He said: “We had an excellent dialogue with Brussels Airport and their sponsors through our UK-based Infrastructure Funds EMEA Coverage team in London which allowed us to synchronise the bond and bank parts of the deal in a timely way.
“With Brussels Airport quarter owned by the Belgian state there was a greater degree of disclosure around the public procurement process and that is where our relationship with the client was particularly strong. They clearly appreciated RBS's advice and delivery across all products which should bring more debt capital markets and risk solutions business to RBS in the future.”
Discussions are ongoing with clients on more airport acquisitions and refinancings.
Jaron Stallard, Director, Loan Capital Markets, said: “Airports continue to attract healthy levels of liquidity after proving their durability during the recent global recession. What is most compelling about RBS in this sector is that we can include a balance sheet element to a solution if the client needs it. The depth of our feasibility studies on deals has proved most successful for airports, in particular MAG’s purchase of Stansted, Global Infrastructure Partnership’s purchase of Edinburgh airport and financings for London City and Heathrow.”